Originally appeared in: Sonoma State STAR
Written by: Thomas Call III, Staff Writer
The first-place Sonoma State University women’s soccer team has not lost in 11 straight games, with eight consecutive wins in that span.
The Seawolves put their winning streak to the test this past week against division rivals Stanislaus State and Cal State East Bay. With a win this weekend, the Seawolves would not only clinch a playoff berth, but also capture the CCAA regular season conference championship.
The Seawolves are sporting an impressive (10-1-2) record with an undefeated record in CCAA conference play at (7-0-1).Their stellar play on the soccer field has placed them on top of the CCAA conference and given them a national ranking at No. 8 in the country.
Sophomore forward Alex Sifuentes is thrilled to be nationally ranked. “Being a top 10 in the nation is big,” said Sifuentes. “We are always checking to see if we move up because it’s so exciting to see how we compare to the rest of the country.”
The Seawolves received more good news over the weekend, when the NCAA released its first regional ranking. The Seawolves were listed as the No. 2 team in the West region. The top six teams in the final rankings will qualify for a postseason seed in the 2015 NCAA tournament. If the Seawolves remain in the top two seedings, they will be able to host the first and second round of the tournament at Sonoma State.
Currently, Western Washington University holds the top spot in the West Region.
Sonoma State would attempt to transfer all this positive energy onto the field against Stanislaus State. Stanislaus State has won the last three meetings against the Seawolves. Sonoma State wanted to change that when they met Friday at Seawolf Soccer Field. The match was a defensive battle through the first 90 minutes as the game was pushed into overtime. After two periods of golden goal overtime, the game still remained scoreless, ending the match in a 0-0 draw.
Senior Ashley Luis performed like a brick wall in goal again for the Seawolves, with four saves on the day, which extended her shutout streak to eight games. On Sunday, the Seawolves seniors walked onto the Seawolf Soccer Field for the final regular season game of their careers, taking on Cal State East Bay.
The Seawolves honored a total of six seniors on Senior day, led by defender Marissa Marable and goalie Ashley Luis. “Senior Day was great, but, it was very emotional,” said Marable. “I never knew how much it was going to hit me until I was in that moment with all my teammates, coaches and family. I just felt really supported.”
Even though it was Senior day, the Sonoma State sophomores were shining bright on the field in their matchup with the Pioneers. Sophomore forward Sara Van Wagoner was able to blow by the CSU East Bay goalie in open field to score the first goal of the match in minute 18, putting the Seawolves on top early. Later in the first half, fellow sophomore Alex Sifuentes blasted in another goal, coming off a cross from senior Margi Osmundson, to give the Seawolves a 2-0 lead going into halftime. “It was an emotional day, we are truly going to miss our seniors,” said Sifuentes. “We all were playing with a little extra fight today for them.”
The 2-0 score stood pat for the next 45 minutes, as the Seawolves defense was stout again, holding the Pioneers to only five shots and no score. With the victory, the Seawolves were crowned regular season champions of the CCAA conference. This is the first time the Seawolves have won a regular season championship since originally joining the CCAA.
Senior goalkeeper Ashley Luis extended her scoreless streak to a whoopping 780 minutes of play. The shutout against CSU East Bay was Luis’ 12th of the season, tying a program record set in 1993. “She has been such a leader in the back and has come up big when we needed her,” said teammate Marable. “The scoreless streak just shows the leadership and commitment she brings to every game.”
The Seawolves defense is now only one shutout away from tying the program record for the most consecutive shutouts at 10 games; a record that has stood since 1991. The Seawolves overall record now sits at (11-1-3) with two games remaining in the regular season. The Seawolves will now go on the road to cap off the regular season against CSU San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona. The CCAA Championship tournament starts Friday, Nov. 6 in Pomona, where the Seawolves will be the No. 1 seed.